Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine And Coastal Fisheries
The Smooth Dogfish Mustelus canis is an abundant, small coastal shark occurring along the U.S. Atlantic coast. Despite being targeted by a directed fishery and having recently undergone a stock assessment that found the population neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing, little is known about the spatial and temporal distribution of this species. Here, we used catch data from the spring and fall Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program's fishery-independent trawl surveys conducted between 2007 and 2016 and various environmental factors to perform hierarchical Bayesian modeling as a first attempt to spatially predict adult Smooth Dogfish CPUE in U.S. northwest Atlantic Ocean waters by sex and season. Relevant environmental variables differed between both sexes and seasons. Male and female CPUEs were similarly associated with lower salinity and shallower depth in the spring. During fall, male CPUE was associated with sea surface temperature and bottom rugosity, and female CPUE was associated with chlorophyll-a concentration, bottom rugosity, and year. Habitat modeling results predicted that areas of high male and female CPUEs would overlap during spring but strongly diverge during fall, when greater predicted CPUEs for males were distributed considerably farther north. These results suggest sexual segregation among Smooth Dogfish during fall, with the springtime overlap in distribution coinciding with the pupping and mating season in this population. This difference in distribution during fall may allow for a male-only directed fishery for Smooth Dogfish in the northern extent of the species' range in waters near southern New England and Georges Bank.
Fish Species Richness; Spiny Dogfish; Mustelus-Canis; Pelagic Sharks; Life-History; Reef Shark; Conservation; Segregation; Catch; Complexity
Dell'Apa, Andrea; Grazia Pennino, Maria; Bangley, Charles W; and Bonzek, Christopher F., A Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling Approach for the Habitat Distribution of Smooth Dogfish by Sex and Season in Inshore Coastal Waters of the US Northwest Atlantic (2018). Marine And Coastal Fisheries, 10(6), 590-605.